Meet Ana Marie Hayes, our new daughter!
She's kind and caring, nurturing and extroverted, artistic and strong. Basically, like all new children are to their parents, she's practically perfect in every way.
We finalized her adoption on October 6th, 2014 in the courthouse near Kyle's old church. Our judge was even a member of his former congregation so that was nice! She loves doing adoptions (here's a secret: all judges love adoption hearings) and was so happy to be involved. Our social workers were there too, which was such a blessing because they've really been there with us and Ana every step of the way for the past year.
Providentially, we scheduled our fall family photo shoot the day before the adoption so we had all these lovely pictures to share with people that day on Facebook. It seriously was providential that it happened that way, we didn't know about the court hearing until less than 2 weeks before and we'd scheduled the photo session before that.
Everyone was excited. The boys could hardly contain themselves....though that could also be because they are 6 and 3 year old boys. But really, they were as involved in this as we were. Just as they'd be involved in praying and preparing for and meeting a new baby born to our family they were involved in the adoption, probably even more so because it all feels so....planned. Ya know? I mean, pregnancies are a private matter, something really only a husband and wife can decide and they are often up to the whims of nature and circumstance. But adoptions have to really be pursued and talked about ahead of time. At least that was our experience.
While we were waiting for Ana for 9 months (funny how that works) between being licensed as foster parents and being matched with her, I suggested to Tobias that we pray for the child we wanted to adopt, whoever he or she was. He told me that he was going to pray for a big sister who laughed a lot and liked to play games. Well, he got it for sure!
Peter is our strong silent type (except when he's being rowdy with his brother). He was shy about Ana acting like a sister at first but also had that quiet excited grin on his face that he only gets when he's REALLY excited. He warmed up even more later and even lets her kiss his boo boos sometimes, a privilege usually reserved for me.
When Ana moved in I kind of thought Peter and Tahlia might bond more and that Ana and Tobias would clique up. But it turned out so completely different! Ana immediately took to Tahlia (what better salve for an abandoned tween's heart than a cheerful baby to love on?). Tahlia was 9 months old when Ana moved in and so she won't ever remember not having a big sister. I think that's nice. While the rest of us can remember this special transition for Ana, Tahlia can give her the unique gift of permanence, of having always known she's there.
Honestly life is pretty much the same now as it was before the adoption was finalized. But there is a slight shift, a sigh of relief knowing she's ours and we're hers. A knowledge that she has tested us and found us constant, if not perfect. Caring, if not always patient. Parents, if not by birth.